2017 is a rough year for video games on Kickstarter
2017 has seen the lowest number of successful video game Kickstarters in the last four years.
Video games have been one of the driving forces in the crowd-funding boom, but according to recent data from market intelligence firm ICO Partners, that boom may be heading towards a bust - on Kickstarter at least.
Analysing the performance of video game campaigns on Kickstarter, ICO Partners found that the total number of campaigns has been trending downwards over the last two years, dropping steadily from 1146 in the second half of 2015 to 869 in the first half of 2017.
More concerning is the ratio of success among video game projects. In the first half of this year, only 179 of the 869 campaigns achieved their funding goals, while 690 failed to hit their minimum thresholds. Despite this, the amount of money raised by video game Kickstarters is actually up over the last 12 months, with US$9.4 million raised in the first half of 2017 compared to the US$7.9 million raised in each half of 2016. That is still far lower than the US$20+ million raised during the platform's heydays in 2013 and 2015, however.
These data don't necessarily point towards the death of video games on Kickstarter, but rather a plateau where the novelty of crowd-funding has faded away and success is less explosive than it was back when Broken Age, Pillars of Eternity and other big-name titles popularised the funding model. Now that many of the projects from the early days of Kickstarter have released and we have the ability to compare a project's pitch with the end result, people seem to be more savvy about what projects they're willing to put their money behind.
This is ultimately a good thing for both consumers and creators, and will hopefully ensure that crowd-funding can continue to bring life to the niche titles the traditional publishing model does not support.
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